Faroe Islands Photography Workshop, May 2018 The forgotten Faroes are just a short flight from Iceland, yet they’re way off the standard traveller’s radar. Adrift in the frothing swells of the North Atlantic, this mysterious 18-piece jigsaw puzzle of islands is at once ancient and very modern.The proud, long-suffering Faroese character …
The Faroe Islands
The Faroe or Faeroe Islands are 18 islands in the middle of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic at 62º00’N and 06º47’W, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The islands were first settled in year 300 AD, although no one knows by whom. The first known settlers, according to stories passed down through generations, were Irish monks in the sixth century.
The Islands are a self-governing island territory of Denmark and have a population of nearly 50,000. The name Faroe Islands first appeared as Faereyjar (in approximately 1225), which means “Sheep Islands”. This presumably led to the national symbol, which is a ram. This name was given by the Viking age settlers from Norway in the ninth century.
Since 1948, the Faroe Islands have been a self-governing nation under the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark. This means the islands have exclusive competence to legislate and govern independently within a wide range of areas, such as trade, taxation, social security and education. The Faroe Islands is not a member of the European Union, even though Denmark is.
When visiting the Faroes you are never more than 5km (3 miles) away from the ocean. The countryside is dominated by steep mountains and there are about 70,000 sheep and some 2 million pairs of seabirds, including the largest colony of storm petrels in the world. The Faroe Islands are undeniably beautiful: green, rugged and wind-swept.
Faroe Islands Landscape
With their volcanic origin, the 18 islands are rugged and rocky the are a perfect place for landscape photo tours. The average height above sea level for the country is 300m (982 ft). The highest peak, Slættaratindur, is 882m (2883 ft) above sea level. There are 1100km (687 mi) of coastline and no point is more than 5km (3 mi) away from the ocean. Mountains and valleys mostly characterise the inner landscape.
The Faroese west coast is characterised by steep slopes and bird cliffs, that in the summertime are full of nesting seabirds such as puffins. Something that first meets the eye of a traveller is the lack of trees in the Faroes. The reason for this is the thousands of sheep that occupy the islands.
The weather is maritime and quite unpredictable. It can change quickly and it varies extremely, from moments of brilliant sunshine to misty hill fog, to showers – there can be the sunshine on one side of the mountain range, while it’s raining on the other side. During the summer the islands are often overcast by summer fog. The average temperature ranges from 3°C in the wintertime to 11°C during the summer, the temperature can be much higher, but the air is always fresh and clean no matter the season.